Let’s all be honest here, the real winners of yesterday’s Debuchy announcement were the parents of kids that want to grow up to be defenders, because finally their offspring have proper kit numbers with which they can hang their emotional ties on when they don a club jersey for their Sunday league youth team. Also, the extra few quid that will be saved by only having a single digit on the back of the shirt will come in handy, especially if you’ve got to buy three a season.
Of course I jest and am in jovial mood this morning, for our team finally announced it’s second high-profile signing of the summer in Matthieu Debuchy from Newcastle for the now standard ‘undisclosed fee’. Which can be quite disclosed if you head up to the North East, because I’m sure Mike Ashley won’t have signed any confidentiality statements when it comes to cash. He does stockpile quite a bit of it you know.
I’m also happy because as you read this right now (possibly, depending on when you read it) I am hurtling towards Portugal for two weeks in the sun. So you’ll have the literary delights of The Oaf and Benjy. That’s what we’re calling him now – not because he looks like a dog or is loyal like one – mainly because whenever Steve and I take him on car journeys he sticks his head out the side window and let’s his tongue flap in the wind. But enough of his transgressions, back to our newbie…
I’m certainly pleased about his arrival, you? Let’s look at our criteria for what we wanted in a Sagna replacement:
1. Experience in the Premier League
2. Right age so as to motivate Jenkinson enough to believe he has a future and to try and improve as a result
3. Not too expensive – we have plenty of other places that we need to use our cash on this summer
4. Good enough quality. You can also see ‘international class defender’ as a reference point.
Our new boy ticks all of the boxes. And as an optional extra added bonus, he’s just kept Sagna out of the French national team fat the World Cup, so we get a small morale victory over the mercenary now too (I know he’s not really a mercenary and he’s given good service to The Arsenal, but the second he ceased to be a gooner, he was fair game for name calling and petty one-upmanship in my book), which is always good.
By all accounts he’ll also be a better crosser of the ball too. I mean, he can’t be any worse than Sagna, can he? I genuinely slumped my shoulders every time Bacary got down that right hand side over the years, so to see a ball actually get delivered on to Giroud’s loaf every once in a while will certainly be a novel experience.
He’s not the defender that Sagna was, I’m sure there will be plenty that will argue, but when you’re having to operate in a Newcastle team that is managed by literally the most annoying white-headed moron to walk the earth, what can you expect? The Newcastle side of last season was in large-scale free-fall from December, so it’s hardly surprising that some people are looking at the Frenchman and wondering if he can cut it at The Arsenal.
I think he can. I think he’ll be alongside better quality teammates, a manager that he trusts and who trusts him back, and I suspect this signing will be the right back equivalent of Arteta. When we needed a steady and safe pair of hands to deliver three to four years of consistent performance and knowledge of the league, Mikel was there to fill the void. This time, it’s Matthieu that does it for us.
And need I point out that we’re still in mid July. The club still has a couple of weeks before it even starts the Emirates Cup, which will be a festival of goodwill with these early arrivals. If there’s a Khedira thrown in as well, the place will be positively electric with excitement for the new season, which will be great to see.
Above all, what’s most pleasing is the fact we’re getting our house in order with plenty of time so the new players can bed in, get to know their surroundings and hit the ground running when the real action starts in a months time. I actually think the squad as it stands is in ok shape. We’re a centre half and reserve ‘keeper away from looking decent, then add a top quality holding/cultured midfielder that can sit a little deeper, and you’ve got yourself title challengers I believe. Michael Owen can bleat his irrelevance all he wants (let’s not forget he is employed by the organisation employing ‘shock and awe’ tactics on Arsenal fans with their current advertising campaign, so it fits the bill that he’s suggesting Arsenal aren’t looking too impressive this coming season), but with United still in transition, Liverpool minus a 35-a-season striker and Chelski’s Costa conundrum yet to reveal whether he’ll be a Drogba or Schevchenko, we’re in good shape with our mixture of youth and experience and plenty of internationals on display come that first game against Palace.
Yep, I’m in a jolly good mood indeed, if I do say so myself. Enjoy your Friday.